Certain development projects are exempt from school fees. The list below provides a guide for these exemptions, though these are subject to change.
Residential Additions Less than 500 Square Feet
Education Code Section 17620(a)(1)(C)(i) permits school districts to charge Level I Fees on residential additions only if the resulting increase in assessable space exceeds 500 square feet. Therefore, there is an exemption for school fees for any additions of less than 500 square feet.
Senior Citizen Housing
Government Code Sections 65995.1 and 65995.2 provides that school districts may only charge the commercial/industrial fee for qualified senior citizen housing. If the development is later converted to another type of use, Government Code Section 65995.1(c) states that the Level II (if currently being levied by the school district or the Level I), may be charged at the time of conversion minus any school fees previously paid. Four types of senior citizen housing qualify for this special treatment: (1) Senior citizen housing development projects described in Civil Code Section 51.3 (One resident is at least age 55 plus other restrictions); (2) A “residential care facility for the elderly” as described in Health and Safety Code Section 1569.2(k) (residents age 60 and over plus other restrictions); (3) A “multilevel facility for the elderly” as described in Government Code Section 15432(d)(9) (residents age 62 and older plus other restrictions); and (4) A mobile home development limited to older persons as described in the Federal Fair Housing Amendments Act of 1988 (age varies by program; generally age 55 or 62). Residences that do not meet these standards should be charged the regular residential fee rates. School districts should also require proof from the developer that the project qualifies as senior citizen housing in the form of CC&Rs.
Churches and Religious Organizations
Pursuant to Government Code Section 65995(d), school districts may not levy school fees on any facility used exclusively for religious purposes and exempt from property taxation under California law.
Private Full-time Day School
Pursuant to Government Code Section 65995(d), school districts may not levy school fees on any “facility used exclusively as a private full-time day school as described in Section 48222 of the Education Code.” A private full-time day school offers instruction in the several branches of study required to be taught in public schools and attendance is required to be taken. We recommend that school districts obtain a copy of the affidavit that private schools are required to file pursuant to Education Code Section 33190 from any private full-time day school requesting this exemption.
Pursuant to Government Code Section 65995(d), school districts may not levy school fees on “any facility that is owned and occupied by one or more agencies of federal, state, or local government.”
Construction for Handicapped Accessibility
Education Code Section 17620 (a)(1)(C)(ii) states that school districts are not authorized to levy school fees against residential construction if the construction qualifies for the exclusion set forth in Revenue and Taxation Code Section 74.3(a), which excludes from school fees the following: construction, installation, or modification of an existing single-family or multi-family dwelling unit to make the structure more accessible to a disabled person. The proof required for the exclusion is a statement signed by a licensed physician or surgeon of appropriate specialty which certifies that the person is severely and permanently disabled and identifies the specific disability-related requirements necessitating accessibility improvements or features. The statement must also identify the construction, installation, or modification that was necessary to make the structure more accessible to the disabled person.
Reconstruction of a Structure Destroyed in Fire
Education Code Section 17626 contains an exemption for school fees for the reconstruction of any residential, commercial, or industrial structure that is damaged or destroyed as a result of a disaster. However, the exemption does not apply if the square footage of the reconstructed structure exceeds the square footage of the structure that was damaged or destroyed.
Education Code Section 17622 contains an exemption for greenhouse or other space that is covered or enclosed for agricultural purposes unless the governing board makes specified findings.